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Excerpt from Nancy Pearcey’s new book: “Why Evolutionary Theory Cannot Survive Itself”

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ENV is pleased to share the following excerpt from Nancy Pearcey’s new book,Finding Truth: Five Principles for Unmasking Atheism, Secularism, and Other God Substitutes. A Fellow of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture, Pearcey is a professor and scholar-in-residence at Houston Baptist University and editor-at-large of The Pearcey Report. She is author of the 2005 ECPA Gold Medallion Award winner Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from Its Cultural Captivity and other books.

A major way to test a philosophy or worldview is to ask: Is it logically consistent? Internal contradictions are fatal to any worldview because contradictory statements are necessarily false. “This circle is square” is contradictory, so it has to be false. An especially damaging form of contradiction is self-referential absurdity — which means a theory sets up a definition of truth that it itself fails to meet. Therefore it refutes itself….

An example of self-referential absurdity is a theory called evolutionary epistemology, a naturalistic approach that applies evolution to the process of knowing. The theory proposes that the human mind is a product of natural selection. The implication is that the ideas in our minds were selected for their survival value, not for their truth-value.

But what if we apply that theory to itself? Then it, too, was selected for survival, not truth — which discredits its own claim to truth. Evolutionary epistemology commits suicide.

Astonishingly, many prominent thinkers have embraced the theory without detecting the logical contradiction. Philosopher John Gray writes, “If Darwin’s theory of natural selection is true,… the human mind serves evolutionary success, not truth.” What is the contradiction in that statement?

Gray has essentially said, if Darwin’s theory is true, then it “serves evolutionary success, not truth.” In other words, if Darwin’s theory is true, then it is not true.

Self-referential absurdity is akin to the well-known liar’s paradox: “This statement is a lie.” If the statement is true, then (as it says) it is not true, but a lie.

Another example comes from Francis Crick. More.

But, of course, no intellectual consideration matters once the naturalists can hear the giant maw of the school system sucking it down. After a while, everyone believes what doesn’t make sense, and no one knows why or cares.

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83 Replies to “Excerpt from Nancy Pearcey’s new book: “Why Evolutionary Theory Cannot Survive Itself”

  1. 1
    kairosfocus says:

    News,

    Correct.

    Let us point out that famed evolutionary theorist J B S Haldane noted on this at the turn of the 1930’s so this is longstanding record:

    “It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms. In order to escape from this necessity of sawing away the branch on which I am sitting, so to speak, I am compelled to believe that mind is not wholly conditioned by matter.” [“When I am dead,” in Possible Worlds: And Other Essays [1927], Chatto and Windus: London, 1932, reprint, p.209. NB: cf wider expansion here on.]

    I predict, the champions of a priori evolutionary materialism will refuse to address this squarely on its merits.

    KF

  2. 2
    Me_Think says:

    What is being discussed in the book is Evolutionary epistemology , not ToE ! Which scientist belives that ” units of knowledge themselves, particularly scientific theories, evolve according to selection” ?. In any case

    For the evolutionary epistemologist, all theories are true only provisionally, regardless of the degree of empirical testing they have survived.

    so that includes their own theory too.

  3. 3
    Box says:

    John Lennox:

    “the mind that does science … is the end product of a mindless unguided process. Now, if you knew your computer was the product of a mindless unguided process, you wouldn’t trust it. So, to me atheism undermines the rationality I need to do science.”

  4. 4
    kairosfocus says:

    MT,

    do you not see that this is deeply embedded in ALL a priori evolutionary materialist scientism (and arguably, in a good slice of its fellow travellers); as Haldane pointed out coming on 90 years past now?

    Let’s refocus Haldane, if you don’t wish to scroll up to no 1:

    “It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms. In order to escape from this necessity of sawing away the branch on which I am sitting, so to speak, I am compelled to believe that mind is not wholly conditioned by matter.” [“When I am dead,” in Possible Worlds: And Other Essays [1927], Chatto and Windus: London, 1932, reprint, p.209.]

    Evolutionary epistemology is a direct implication of a worldview — never mind the lab coats — that reducess all to blind interactions of matter and energy shaped by chance and necessity, from Hydrogen to humans.

    Which, is the point where it inevitably self-refers.

    Which then raises the double issue of circularities and inherent inconsistencies. Here, undermining rationality, reason, warrant and knowledge, thus science.

    Including, its own views.

    KF

  5. 5
    Piotr says:

    The theory proposes that the human mind is a product of natural selection. The implication is that the ideas in our minds were selected for their survival value, not for their truth-value.

    Does she believe “the ideas in our minds” are innate, or what? At best, it could be argued that the human mind has been shaped by natural selection in such a way that it can produce ideas which help us to survive and have offspring. As far as I can see, thought processes which allow us to understand the world and make correct predictions (and so are empirically “true”) are generally good for survival. I should also think that any animal with a decently developed nervous system can discover many such “truths” and store them in its memory. Does Pearcey think that brains producing an arbitrary model of the world completely divorced from reality could be of any survival value to their owners? How?

  6. 6
    kairosfocus says:

    P,

    Pearcey took time to address the selective skepticism involved, from Darwin on:

    People are sometimes under the impression that Darwin himself recognized the problem. They typically cite Darwin’s famous “horrid doubt” passage where he questions whether the human mind can be trustworthy if it is a product of evolution: “With me, the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy.”

    But, of course, Darwin’s theory itself was a “conviction of man’s mind.” So why should it be “at all trustworthy”?

    Surprisingly, however, Darwin never confronted this internal contradiction in this theory. Why not? Because he expressed his “horrid doubt” selectively — only when considering the case for a Creator.

    From time to time, Darwin admitted that he still found the idea of God persuasive. He once confessed his “inward conviction … that the Universe is not the result of chance.” It was in the next sentence that he expressed his “horrid doubt.” So the “conviction” he mistrusted was his lingering conviction that the universe is not the result of chance.

    In another passage Darwin admitted, “I feel compelled to look to a First Cause having an intelligent mind in some degree analogous to that of man.” Again, however, he immediately veered off into skepticism: “But then arises the doubt — can the mind of man, which has, as I fully believe, been developed from a mind as low as that possessed by the lowest animal, be trusted when it draws such grand conclusions?”

    That is, can it be trusted when it draws “grand conclusions” about a First Cause? Perhaps the concept of God is merely an instinct programmed into us by natural selection, Darwin added, like a monkey’s “instinctive fear and hatred of a snake.”

    In short, it was on occasions when Darwin’s mind led him to a theistic conclusion that he dismissed the mind as untrustworthy. He failed to recognize that, to be logically consistent, he needed to apply the same skepticism to his own theory . . . .

    Applied consistently, Darwinism undercuts not only itself but also the entire scientific enterprise. Kenan Malik, a writer trained in neurobiology, writes, “If our cognitive capacities were simply evolved dispositions, there would be no way of knowing which of these capacities lead to true beliefs and which to false ones.” Thus “to view humans as little more than sophisticated animals …undermines confidence in the scientific method.”

    Just so. Science itself is at stake. John Lennox, professor of mathematics at the University of Oxford, writes that according to atheism, “the mind that does science … is the end product of a mindless unguided process. Now, if you knew your computer was the product of a mindless unguided process, you wouldn’t trust it. So, to me atheism undermines the rationality I need to do science.”

    Of course, the atheist pursuing his research has no choice but to rely on rationality, just as everyone else does. The point is that he has no philosophical basis for doing so. Only those who affirm a rational Creator have a basis for trusting human rationality.

    The reason so few atheists and materialists seem to recognize the problem is that, like Darwin, they apply their skepticism selectively . . .

    You have a serious issue with self-referential incoherence, which must be seriously addressed. Without selective hyperskepticism.

    KF

  7. 7
    Joe says:

    Natural selection is impotent and had nothing to do with shaping our minds.

  8. 8
    Piotr says:

    Joe,

    A mind works well if it gives you a reasonable fit with reality — guaranteeing at the very least that the consequences of mistakes and misjudgements are rarely fatal. I don’t know what shaped your mind, but if natural selection had nothing to do with it, I’d recommend a brain check, just in case.

  9. 9
    Joe says:

    Piotr, Natural selection is impotent. I can see that it shaped your mind…

  10. 10
    kairosfocus says:

    P, Let me clip:

    __________

    >>3 –> Some materialists go further and suggest that mind is more or less a delusion. For instance, Sir Francis Crick is on record, in his 1994 The Astonishing Hypothesis:

    . . . that “You”, your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behaviour of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules. As Lewis Carroll’s Alice might have phrased: “You’re nothing but a pack of neurons.” This hypothesis is so alien to the ideas of most people today that it can truly be called astonishing.

    14 –> Philip Johnson has replied that Sir Francis should have therefore been willing to preface his works thusly: “I, Francis Crick, my opinions and my science, and even the thoughts expressed in this book, consist of nothing more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules.” Johnson then acidly commented: “[[t]he plausibility of materialistic determinism requires that an implicit exception be made for the theorist.” [[Reason in the Balance, 1995.] . . . .

    . . . This issue can be addressed at a more sophisticated level [[cf. Hasker in The Emergent Self (Cornell University Press, 2001), from p 64 on, e.g. here as well as Reppert here and Plantinga here (briefer) & here (noting updates in the 2011 book, The Nature of Nature)], but without losing its general force, it can also be drawn out a bit in a fairly simple way:

    a: Evolutionary materialism argues that the cosmos is the product of chance interactions of matter and energy, within the constraint of the laws of nature; from hydrogen to humans by undirected chance and necessity.

    b: Therefore, all phenomena in the universe, without residue, are determined by the working of purposeless laws of chance and/or mechanical necessity acting on material objects, under the direct or indirect control of happenstance initial circumstances.

    (This is physicalism. This view covers both the forms where (a) the mind and the brain are seen as one and the same thing, and those where (b) somehow mind emerges from and/or “supervenes” on brain, perhaps as a result of sophisticated and complex software looping. The key point, though is as already noted: physical causal closure — the phenomena that play out across time, without residue, are in principle deducible or at least explainable up to various random statistical distributions and/or mechanical laws, from prior physical states. Such physical causal closure, clearly, implicitly discounts or even dismisses the causal effect of concept formation and reasoning then responsibly deciding, in favour of specifically physical interactions in the brain-body control loop; indeed, some mock the idea of — in their view — an “obviously” imaginary “ghost” in the meat-machine. [[There is also some evidence from simulation exercises, that accuracy of even sensory perceptions may lose out to utilitarian but inaccurate ones in an evolutionary competition. “It works” does not warrant the inference to “it is true.”] )

    c: But human thought, clearly a phenomenon in the universe, must now fit into this meat-machine picture. So, we rapidly arrive at Crick’s claim in his The Astonishing Hypothesis (1994): what we subjectively experience as “thoughts,” “reasoning” and “conclusions” can only be understood materialistically as the unintended by-products of the blind natural forces which cause and control the electro-chemical events going on in neural networks in our brains that (as the Smith Model illustrates) serve as cybernetic controllers for our bodies.

    d: These underlying driving forces are viewed as being ultimately physical, but are taken to be partly mediated through a complex pattern of genetic inheritance shaped by forces of selection [[“nature”] and psycho-social conditioning [[“nurture”], within the framework of human culture [[i.e. socio-cultural conditioning and resulting/associated relativism]. And, remember, the focal issue to such minds — notice, this is a conceptual analysis made and believed by the materialists! — is the physical causal chains in a control loop, not the internalised “mouth-noises” that may somehow sit on them and come along for the ride.

    (Save, insofar as such “mouth noises” somehow associate with or become embedded as physically instantiated signals or maybe codes in such a loop. [[How signals, languages and codes originate and function in systems in our observation of such origin — i.e by design — tends to be pushed to the back-burner and conveniently forgotten. So does the point that a signal or code takes its significance precisely from being an intelligently focused on, observed or chosen and significant alternative from a range of possibilities that then can guide decisive action.])

    e: For instance, Marxists commonly derided opponents for their “bourgeois class conditioning” — but what of the effect of their own class origins? Freudians frequently dismissed qualms about their loosening of moral restraints by alluding to the impact of strict potty training on their “up-tight” critics — but doesn’t this cut both ways? Should we not ask a Behaviourist whether s/he is little more than yet another operantly conditioned rat trapped in the cosmic maze? And — as we saw above — would the writings of a Crick be any more than the firing of neurons in networks in his own brain?

    f: For further instance, we may take the favourite whipping-boy of materialists: religion. Notoriously, they often hold that belief in God is not merely cognitive, conceptual error, but delusion. Borderline lunacy, in short. But, if such a patent “delusion” is so utterly widespread, even among the highly educated, then it “must” — by the principles of evolution — somehow be adaptive to survival, whether in nature or in society. And so, this would be a major illustration of the unreliability of our conceptual reasoning ability, on the assumption of evolutionary materialism.

    g: Turning the materialist dismissal of theism around, evolutionary materialism itself would be in the same leaky boat. For, the sauce for the goose is notoriously just as good a sauce for the gander, too.

    h: That is, on its own premises [[and following Dawkins in A Devil’s Chaplain, 2004, p. 46], the cause of the belief system of evolutionary materialism, “must” also be reducible to forces of blind chance and mechanical necessity that are sufficiently adaptive to spread this “meme” in populations of jumped- up apes from the savannahs of East Africa scrambling for survival in a Malthusian world of struggle for existence. Reppert brings the underlying point sharply home, in commenting on the “internalised mouth-noise signals riding on the physical cause-effect chain in a cybernetic loop” view:

    . . . let us suppose that brain state A, which is token identical to the thought that all men are mortal, and brain state B, which is token identical to the thought that Socrates is a man, together cause the belief that Socrates is mortal. It isn’t enough for rational inference that these events be those beliefs, it is also necessary that the causal transaction be in virtue of the content of those thoughts . . . [[But] if naturalism is true, then the propositional content is irrelevant to the causal transaction that produces the conclusion, and [[so] we do not have a case of rational inference. In rational inference, as Lewis puts it, one thought causes another thought not by being, but by being seen to be, the ground for it. But causal transactions in the brain occur in virtue of the brain’s being in a particular type of state that is relevant to physical causal transactions. [[Emphases added. Also cf. Reppert’s summary of Barefoot’s argument here.]

    i: The famous geneticist and evolutionary biologist (as well as Socialist) J. B. S. Haldane made much the same point in a famous 1932 remark:

    “It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms. In order to escape from this necessity of sawing away the branch on which I am sitting, so to speak, I am compelled to believe that mind is not wholly conditioned by matter.” [[“When I am dead,” in Possible Worlds: And Other Essays [1927], Chatto and Windus: London, 1932, reprint, p.209. (Highlight and emphases added.)]

    . . . DI Fellow, Nancey Pearcey brings this right up to date (HT: ENV) in a current book, Finding Truth:

    A major way to test a philosophy or worldview is to ask: Is it logically consistent? Internal contradictions are fatal to any worldview because contradictory statements are necessarily false. “This circle is square” is contradictory, so it has to be false. An especially damaging form of contradiction is self-referential absurdity — which means a theory sets up a definition of truth that it itself fails to meet. Therefore it refutes itself . . . .

    An example of self-referential absurdity is a theory called evolutionary epistemology, a naturalistic approach that applies evolution to the process of knowing. The theory proposes that the human mind is a product of natural selection. The implication is that the ideas in our minds were selected for their survival value, not for their truth-value.

    But what if we apply that theory to itself? Then it, too, was selected for survival, not truth — which discredits its own claim to truth. Evolutionary epistemology commits suicide.

    Astonishingly, many prominent thinkers have embraced the theory without detecting the logical contradiction. Philosopher John Gray writes, “If Darwin’s theory of natural selection is true,… the human mind serves evolutionary success, not truth.” What is the contradiction in that statement?

    Gray has essentially said, if Darwin’s theory is true, then it “serves evolutionary success, not truth.” In other words, if Darwin’s theory is true, then it is not true.

    Self-referential absurdity is akin to the well-known liar’s paradox: “This statement is a lie.” If the statement is true, then (as it says) it is not true, but a lie.

    Another example comes from Francis Crick. In The Astonishing Hypothesis, he writes, “Our highly developed brains, after all, were not evolved under the pressure of discovering scientific truths but only to enable us to be clever enough to survive.” But that means Crick’s own theory is not a “scientific truth.” Applied to itself, the theory commits suicide.

    Of course, the sheer pressure to survive is likely to produce some correct ideas. A zebra that thinks lions are friendly will not live long. But false ideas may be useful for survival. Evolutionists admit as much: Eric Baum says, “Sometimes you are more likely to survive and propagate if you believe a falsehood than if you believe the truth.” Steven Pinker writes, “Our brains were shaped for fitness, not for truth. Sometimes the truth is adaptive, but sometimes it is not.” The upshot is that survival is no guarantee of truth. If survival is the only standard, we can never know which ideas are true and which are adaptive but false.

    To make the dilemma even more puzzling, evolutionists tell us that natural selection has produced all sorts of false concepts in the human mind. Many evolutionary materialists maintain that free will is an illusion, consciousness is an illusion, even our sense of self is an illusion — and that all these false ideas were selected for their survival value.
    So how can we know whether the theory of evolution itself is one of those false ideas? The theory undercuts itself.

    A few thinkers, to their credit, recognize the problem. Literary critic Leon Wieseltier writes, “If reason is a product of natural selection, then how much confidence can we have in a rational argument for natural selection? … Evolutionary biology cannot invoke the power of reason even as it destroys it.”

    On a similar note, philosopher Thomas Nagel asks, “Is the [evolutionary] hypothesis really compatible with the continued confidence in reason as a source of knowledge?” His answer is no: “I have to be able to believe … that I follow the rules of logic because they are correct — not merely because I am biologically programmed to do so.” Hence, “insofar as the evolutionary hypothesis itself depends on reason, it would be self-undermining.”

    . . . also tellingly highlighting Darwin’s selective skepticism:

    People are sometimes under the impression that Darwin himself recognized the problem. They typically cite Darwin’s famous “horrid doubt” passage where he questions whether the human mind can be trustworthy if it is a product of evolution: “With me, the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy.”

    But, of course, Darwin’s theory itself was a “conviction of man’s mind.” So why should it be “at all trustworthy”?

    Surprisingly, however, Darwin never confronted this internal contradiction in this theory. Why not? Because he expressed his “horrid doubt” selectively — only when considering the case for a Creator.
    From time to time, Darwin admitted that he still found the idea of God persuasive. He once confessed his “inward conviction … that the Universe is not the result of chance.” It was in the next sentence that he expressed his “horrid doubt.” So the “conviction” he mistrusted was his lingering conviction that the universe is not the result of chance.

    In another passage Darwin admitted, “I feel compelled to look to a First Cause having an intelligent mind in some degree analogous to that of man.” Again, however, he immediately veered off into skepticism: “But then arises the doubt — can the mind of man, which has, as I fully believe, been developed from a mind as low as that possessed by the lowest animal, be trusted when it draws such grand conclusions?”

    That is, can it be trusted when it draws “grand conclusions” about a First Cause? Perhaps the concept of God is merely an instinct programmed into us by natural selection, Darwin added, like a monkey’s “instinctive fear and hatred of a snake.”

    In short, it was on occasions when Darwin’s mind led him to a theistic conclusion that he dismissed the mind as untrustworthy. He failed to recognize that, to be logically consistent, he needed to apply the same skepticism to his own theory . . . .

    Applied consistently, Darwinism undercuts not only itself but also the entire scientific enterprise. Kenan Malik, a writer trained in neurobiology, writes, “If our cognitive capacities were simply evolved dispositions, there would be no way of knowing which of these capacities lead to true beliefs and which to false ones.” Thus “to view humans as little more than sophisticated animals …undermines confidence in the scientific method.”

    Just so. Science itself is at stake. John Lennox, professor of mathematics at the University of Oxford, writes that according to atheism, “the mind that does science … is the end product of a mindless unguided process. Now, if you knew your computer was the product of a mindless unguided process, you wouldn’t trust it. So, to me atheism undermines the rationality I need to do science.”

    Of course, the atheist pursuing his research has no choice but to rely on rationality, just as everyone else does. The point is that he has no philosophical basis for doing so. Only those who affirm a rational Creator have a basis for trusting human rationality.

    The reason so few atheists and materialists seem to recognize the problem is that, like Darwin, they apply their skepticism selectively . . .

    j: Therefore, though materialists will often try to pointedly ignore or angrily brush aside the issue, we may freely argue: if such evolutionary materialism is true, then (i) our consciousness, (ii) the “thoughts” we have, (iii) the conceptualised beliefs we hold, (iv) the reasonings we attempt based on such and (v) the “conclusions” and “choices” (a.k.a. “decisions”) we reach — without residue — must be produced and controlled by blind forces of chance happenstance and mechanical necessity that are irrelevant to “mere” ill-defined abstractions such as: purpose or truth, or even logical validity.

    (NB: The conclusions of such “arguments” may still happen to be true, by astonishingly lucky coincidence — but we have no rational grounds for relying on the “reasoning” that has led us to feel that we have “proved” or “warranted” them. It seems that rationality itself has thus been undermined fatally on evolutionary materialistic premises. Including that of Crick et al. Through, self-reference leading to incoherence and utter inability to provide a cogent explanation of our commonplace, first-person experience of reasoning and rational warrant for beliefs, conclusions and chosen paths of action. Reduction to absurdity and explanatory failure in short.)

    k: And, if materialists then object: “But, we can always apply scientific tests, through observation, experiment and measurement,” then we must immediately note that — as the fate of Newtonian Dynamics between 1880 and 1930 shows — empirical support is not equivalent to establishing the truth of a scientific theory. For, at any time, one newly discovered countering fact can in principle overturn the hitherto most reliable of theories. (And as well, we must not lose sight of this: in science, one is relying on the legitimacy of the reasoning process to make the case that scientific evidence provides reasonable albeit provisional warrant for one’s beliefs etc. Scientific reasoning is not independent of reasoning.)

    l: Worse, in the case of origins science theories, we simply were not there to directly observe the facts of the remote past, so origins sciences are even more strongly controlled by assumptions and inferences than are operational scientific theories. So, we contrast the way that direct observations of falling apples and orbiting planets allow us to test our theories of gravity.

    m: Moreover, as Harvard biologist Richard Lewontin reminds us all in his infamous January 29, 1997 New York Review of Books article, “Billions and billions of demons,” it is now notorious that:

    . . . It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel [[materialistic scientists] to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. [[And if you have been led to imagine that the immediately following words justify the above, kindly cf. the more complete clip and notes here.]

    n: Such a priori assumptions of materialism are patently question-begging, mind-closing and fallacious.

    o: More important, to demonstrate that empirical tests provide empirical support to the materialists’ theories would require the use of the very process of reasoning and inference which they have discredited.

    p: Thus, evolutionary materialism arguably reduces reason itself to the status of illusion. But, as we have seen: immediately, that must include “Materialism.”

    q: In the end, it is thus quite hard to escape the conclusion that materialism is based on self-defeating, question-begging logic.

    r: So, while materialists — just like the rest of us — in practice routinely rely on the credibility of reasoning and despite all the confidence they may project, they at best struggle to warrant such a tacitly accepted credibility of mind and of concepts and reasoned out conclusions relative to the core claims of their worldview. (And, sadly: too often, they tend to pointedly ignore or rhetorically brush aside the issue.) >>

    __________

    KF

  11. 11
    Box says:

    Piotr: Does she believe “the ideas in our minds” are innate, or what?

    Under materialism “ideas in our minds” are nothing but chemical stuff. If this blind chemical stuff is formed by DNA or other heritable elements then “ideas” are indeed heritable.

    Piotr: At best, it could be argued that the human mind has been shaped by natural selection in such a way that it can produce ideas which help us to survive and have offspring.

    For any thought process to take off a basic set of premises are mandatory. Under materialism these are at best based in chemical reactions filtered by evolution – alternatives are worse. Whether these are true or not we don’t know, since evolution doesn’t select for truth.
    A strange notion: true and untrue chemical reactions.

    Piotr: As far as I can see, thought processes which allow us to understand the world and make correct predictions (and so are empirically “true”) are generally good for survival. I should also think that any animal with a decently developed nervous system can discover many such “truths” and store them in its memory.

    If it is good for the survival of a Zebra to stay away from a lion, natural selection approves of any belief that does the job. Storing *because lions are evil magicians* in the DNA (or other heritable elements) works as well as a gazillion of other nonsensical reasons to not get close to a lion.

    Piotr: Does Pearcey think that brains producing an arbitrary model of the world completely divorced from reality could be of any survival value to their owners? How?

    Because it works. Religion, which you hold to be “completely divorced from reality”, works doesn’t it?

  12. 12

    Piotr,

    If minds evolved to have a truthful understanding of the world, what do you make of the fact that only about 10-15% of the world’s population is atheist?

  13. 13
    Silver Asiatic says:

    KF @ 10

    That was an excellent overview – thanks. The theme (untrustworthy character of the materialist-physicalist mind) is repeated from a number of credible sources.

    Steven Pinker writes, “Our brains were shaped for fitness, not for truth. Sometimes the truth is adaptive, but sometimes it is not.” The upshot is that survival is no guarantee of truth. If survival is the only standard, we can never know which ideas are true and which are adaptive but false.

    And a step further, we really shouldn’t care if something is true or false – but we do care about that.

    Many evolutionary materialists maintain that free will is an illusion, consciousness is an illusion, even our sense of self is an illusion — and that all these false ideas were selected for their survival value.

    Great point. Free will is an illusion, consciousness, sense of self, morality, religious insight … all illusions.

    But evolutionary speculations, of course, with evidence that is entirely imaginary, are supposedly not illusions at all.

  14. 14
    kairosfocus says:

    SA, thanks. The clip builds on thoughts since the mid 1980’s, and I remember how excited I was to learn I was not the only one thinking down this line. BTW, Provine’s 1998 Darwin Day address is also a rich body of ore on the implications of evo mat thought. I have discussed the above in and around UD several times, back to at least 2007. It is amazing to see how evolutionary materialist scientism advocates and the like respond or try to dismiss or to ignore. Latterly, once I had the extended Haldane clip [the bit on branch sawing], I have tended to cite it and link “for more? – – – News triggered additions today. Let’s see if there will be any serious response. This issue, in my long term considered opinion, is the pivotal one. On serious evidence backed up by real life interaction with major schools of thought not oddball individuals, evo mat runs into self referential incoherence and cannot be sound. That is big. Decisively big, and BTW knocks out the props under imposition of naturalistic redefinitions of science and of methodological censorship that turns science into lab coat clad applied atheism. KF

  15. 15
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Piotr: Does Pearcey think that brains producing an arbitrary model of the world completely divorced from reality could be of any survival value to their owners? How?

    Box: Because it works.

    Exactly. Out-replicating one’s competition doesn’t require an accurate understanding of reality. Survive and reproduce. It’s not that difficult. Chemicals don’t seem to create models of reality – arbitrary or not. In fact, in the materialist view, chemicals are reality. There’s no need to model anything since in knowing themselves, chemicals know all the secrets of the universe.

  16. 16
    Zachriel says:

    News: The theory proposes that the human mind is a product of natural selection. The implication is that the ideas in our minds were selected for their survival value, not for their truth-value.

    Sure, which is why humans are subject to so many observational errors, and hold so many irrational beliefs. However, that doesn’t mean human cognition has no connection with the real world. It certainly does.

    Language and mutual sharing of information has helped to provide some measure of objectivity, while the development of the scientific method has provided a very strong basis for determining facts about the universe.

  17. 17
    kairosfocus says:

    Z, on what basis? By what bootstrap do we pull ourselves out of the muck of the non-rational into the self aware, conscious, reasoning, knowing? With what reason to trust our cognitive capacities? KF

  18. 18
    Piotr says:

    #12

    Because for most people being religious makes little practical difference. They nominally belong to one church or another, but don’t rely on its doctrine in everyday life. Different world-views may produce similar behaviour. In many parts of the world people no longer take religion (or lack of it) seriously enough to fight wars over it. It has become a kind of nearly neutral cultural “spandrel”, invisible to selection. After all, 2+2=4 no matter if you believe in a god.

    #11

    Box, I’m not interested in strawman arguments. The only good point you make is about “any belief that does the job”. Yes, such beliefs can produce a provisional model of the world that works to a certain extent, making people’s lives safer and more enjoyable — even if we later find them false. You are yourself a good example. If you don’t go about stealing or killing for fear of incurring God’s discontent, it’s OK as far as I’m concerned. It would only worry me if the same motivation combined with a close reading of the Bible made you want to stone fellow humans to death for collecting firewood upon the sabbath day (cf. Numbers 15:32-36). If you were that religious, if would be a good reason to lock you up. Otherwise, be my guest and believe your magic.

  19. 19
    Zachriel says:

    kairosfocus: By what bootstrap do we pull ourselves out of the muck of the non-rational into the self aware, conscious, reasoning, knowing?

    As already pointed out, brains have some verifiable information about the world. Touch the fire, it hurts, so don’t touch the fire. Your mind might conjure up a dangerous fire demon to explain the fire’s hurtfulness, a demon that can be tamed, but the basic relationship is established.

    The main boot-strap is language, first verbal, then written. As people share experiences, they hone in on the commonalities, as well as expanding the experiential universe. Furthermore, language aids in abstraction, which leads to contemplation. Later in history, the scientific method, i.e. hypothetico-deduction and verification, provides a much stronger basis for separating the facts from the illusions or impositions.

  20. 20
    Piotr says:

    #17 KF,

    Because if you are completely irrational and burdened with a malfunctioning mind which cannot plan a good course of action in any situation or react effectively to an immediate danger, you’ll die early and the DNA responsible for your lethal stupidity will not proliferate. If you can survive, it means that there are at least some elements of realism guiding your behaviour.

  21. 21
    Silver Asiatic says:

    KF @ 14 — it might be good to dust that off, update it with some additional and newer quotes, and do another OP with some extended and related thoughts.

  22. 22
    CHartsil says:

    KF

    “Your performance over the past little while has now slipped over the border into trollish abuse and slander”

    Coming from the one who thinks asserting a living system being specified is somehow evidence for it.

  23. 23
    Box says:

    Zachriel:

    However, that doesn’t mean human cognition has no connection with the real world. It certainly does.

    “It certainly does”, says some chemical reaction in the brain. The chemicals know it for certain. But what is the chemicals opinion of the real world worth? After all it is confined in the brain. It ‘s never ‘out there’ – in the real world.
    It just sits there trapped inside the brain “thinking” that it has a connection with the real world, which is ‘out there’ – on the other side of the skull.

  24. 24
    Box says:

    Silver:

    Free will is an illusion, consciousness, sense of self, morality, religious insight … all illusions.

    But evolutionary speculations, of course, with evidence that is entirely imaginary, are supposedly not illusions at all.

    There are always exceptions to the rule. 🙂

  25. 25
    Zachriel says:

    Box: But what is the chemicals opinion of the real world worth? After all it is confined in the brain.

    The claim concerns whether evolution is self-refuting. The theory posits that the human brain is the product of successful reproduction over millions of years. That is not self-refuting.

    Box: It just sits there trapped inside the brain “thinking” that it has a connection with the real world, which is ‘out there’ – on the other side of the skull.

    Well, you can descend into solipsism, but that has nothing to do with evolutionary theory

  26. 26
    tjguy says:

    Zachriel,

    If my mind evolved in such a way as to make belief in God a good strategy for survival and yours evolved in such a way as to make belief in Materialism a good strategy for survival, how do we know whose mind is right?

    Can we trust our reasoning and our thoughts formed from the chemical secretions in either brain?

    If our brains and thoughts are not selected for truth value, but for survival value, why or why not?

    The point is, that this undermines all reasoning and truth/knowledge claims. They may still be accurate, but we really have no way of knowing. All we can say is they have survival value and that can be said of theistic worldviews as well as of atheistic worldviews.

    There is no foundation for truth if Materialism is true, which ironically, we can never really know for sure.

    At least the Judeo Christian worldview provides a foundation for truth.

  27. 27
    Zachriel says:

    tjguy: If my mind evolved in such a way as to make belief in God a good strategy for survival and yours evolved in such a way as to make belief in Materialism a good strategy for survival, how do we know whose mind is right?

    People may have a propensity to ascribe spirit to things and events. This allows them to map between two complex phenomena, such as a chaotic sky god and chaotic weather patterns. Presumably this facility has substantial variation, and is tempered considerably by culture, especially modern scientific culture.

    tjguy: Can we trust our reasoning and our thoughts formed from the chemical secretions in either brain?

    Not completely. A simple example is an optical illusion. More generally, people have a great deal of difficulty understanding the scale of many scientific findings, whether the quantum scale, the cosmological scale, or the great age of the earth.

    tjguy: If our brains and thoughts are not selected for truth value, but for survival value, why or why not?

    Humans are pretty good at judging aspects of the world that relate to their original evolution.

    tjguy: The point is, that this undermines all reasoning and truth/knowledge claims.

    It means that humans can’t completely trust their senses. That’s why it took science to overthrow many false beliefs. Philosophy wasn’t enough.

  28. 28
    Andre says:

    The question is simple…

    Do chemicals concern themselves with truth or do they obey the laws of nature?

    Not a single atheist have answered this question honestly, if they did, they would admit how stupid their belief system really is……

  29. 29
    Andre says:

    Zachriel

    I’m so tired of the atheist confidence that he thinks he can explain natural phenomena like lightning!

    Right Mr Smarty pants, easy question….

    What triggers Lightning?

  30. 30
    Andre says:

    Zachriel

    What does this mean?

    Humans are pretty good at judging aspects of the world that relate to their original evolution.

    Relate to their original evolution? From which orifice do you suck this stuff from?

  31. 31
    Andre says:

    Zachriel

    It means that humans can’t completely trust their senses. That’s why it took science to overthrow many false beliefs. Philosophy wasn’t enough.

    You are kidding right? Making a truth claim about something that knows nothing about truth… Science itself is always under correction, but not according to Zachriel who relates to his own evolution….. Whatever floats your boat Mr Smarty pants!

    What are those false beliefs? Stuff like Gods make lightning?

  32. 32
    Zachriel says:

    Andre: What triggers Lightning?

    An angry sky-god hurling lightning bolts at the wicked in the Vale of Tempe below.

    Andre: What does this mean?

    The original human environment was tribal and local. Humans are good at those sorts of interactions. They are good at recognizing dangerous animals, and forming cooperative attachments with closely related humans. They are not good at visualizing quantum interactions, and have to be trained to understand even Newtonian mechanics.

    Andre: Making a truth claim about something that knows nothing about truth

    Humans can reliably determine many things. A simple example is that holding your hand in the fire will result in injury.

    Andre: Science itself is always under correction

    That’s right!

  33. 33
    Andre says:

    Zachriel

    What triggers lightning?

  34. 34
    Andre says:

    Zachriel

    So can we rely on our senses or not? you seem to contradict yourself all the time…..

  35. 35
    Andre says:

    The environment was tribal and therefore we can reliably relate to our evolution but we can’t really trust it?

    You make allot of sense……

    Let me ask you….

    How do you know that you can’t know?

  36. 36
    Zachriel says:

    Andre: What triggers lightning?

    An angry sky-god hurling bolts at the wicked in the Vale of Tempe below.

    Andre: So can we rely on our senses or not?

    You seem to have a binary view of the world. Human senses are imperfect, but not completely incapable.

  37. 37
    velikovskys says:

    tjguy:

    Can we trust our reasoning and our thoughts formed from the chemical secretions in either brain?

    Why do you assume that we can trust our reasoning and thoughts if they are created by an unknown designer with unknown abilities for unknown reasons?

    We are all in the same boat.

  38. 38
    kairosfocus says:

    CHartsil, there you go again. Let’s see, a complex coded digital storage system, with transcription, transfer to serving as a prong height code template in a NC machine, then used to step by step control an assembly process, all dependent on specificity of code, specificity of fit, right arrangements and coupling across many many components, etc. Then the product folds into a complex form that defies computational analysis, to further carry out remote functions. DNA –> transcription –> mRNA –> Ribosome and tRNAs –> primary protein AA chain, folded to functional form, etc. Well known facts outlined, not mere assertions. Your problem is ideologically motivated denial, backed up by apparent Facebook fraud, accusations without proper merit, refusal to be corrected on cogent evidence and more. In due course you will have further opportunity to explain why you have become a poster child for the sort of trollish misbehaviour that too often characterises too many objectors to design thought. KF

    PS: Pardon this break in transmission, a troll needed to be put in his place.

  39. 39
    kairosfocus says:

    VS,

    a designer is purposeful and evidently skilled, chem rxns etc are not purposeful or capable of debugging and troubleshooting of the scope required for what is needed, and the blind mechanism proposed is utterly irrelevant to purpose, truth, accuracy, validity, truth, etc. There is on the face of it far better reason to trust that we were designed to generally be capable of reasoning and thinking soundly, than that a concatenation of accidents and their consequences by massive luck got it right. But actually, there is no good obse4vational evidence that such blind chance and necessity can even surmount the barrier to get to the FSCO/I in a living cell much less the functional capacities we have.

    Let’s refresh our thoughts, starting with famed Evolutionist Haldane:

    “It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms. In order to escape from this necessity of sawing away the branch on which I am sitting, so to speak, I am compelled to believe that mind is not wholly conditioned by matter.” [“When I am dead,” in Possible Worlds: And Other Essays [1927], Chatto and Windus: London, 1932, reprint, p.209.]

    If you disagree with him why and on what evidence and on what grounds to trust the evaluation of claimed evidence?

    KF

  40. 40
    Box says:

    Andre: The question is simple…

    Do chemicals concern themselves with truth or do they obey the laws of nature?

    Not a single atheist have answered this question honestly, if they did, they would admit how stupid their belief system really is……

    Chemicals obey the laws of nature and don’t give a hoot about truth.

    Here is the disconnect: one cannot get from chemicals to the mental; one cannot get from the laws of nature to truth, meaning, overview, wisdom and logic.

    Indeed it is in fact unfathomable simple.

  41. 41
    Andre says:

    Box

    I know that 🙂 so do you, but for the materialist to admit it would mean acknowledging how utterly false their position is.

  42. 42
    kairosfocus says:

    Folks: We all know we can know, warrant and reason, with some measure of success. The question is what best grounds that? A mindless process that cares not a hoot on truth, that is even questionable to get to the FSCO/I involved in cell based life? Or a foundational mind? No contest. KF

    PS: And nope, inference to best empirically warranted explanation is not glorified guesswork or hunches. That trick being played by is it Z in another thread is an attempt to dismiss inductive reasoning; the foundation inter alia of science.

  43. 43
    CHartsil says:

    “A mindless process that cares not a hoot on truth, that is even questionable to get to the FSCO/I involved in cell based life?”

    Question begging yet again. Just asserting that it’s specified does not make it so

  44. 44
    velikovskys says:

    KF:
    VS,

    a designer is purposeful and evidently skilled,

    Seems reasonable,though what means do we know that purpose requires human thoughts and reasoning to be trustworthy? The assumption that our means of reasoning is trustworthy to make that reasoning that it is trustworthy?

    chem rxns etc are not purposeful or capable of debugging and troubleshooting of the scope required for what is needed,

    You seem to know a lot about how this designer works,funny how its technological skills match modern humans. Advanced enough to travel vast distances but still debugging and troubleshooting. I wonder how the designer knows its mind is trustworthy?

    and the blind mechanism proposed is utterly irrelevant to purpose, truth, accuracy, validity, truth, etc.

    It is not blind,the brain has the ability to learn,accuracy is rewarded, linking observations is rewarded, communication is rewarded, logic is rewarded. If you anticipate where the animals will be by the locations of the constellations , you are rewarding reasoning. Each generation passing along the tribal knowledge, if it is wrong,no tribe.

    There is on the face of it far better reason to trust that we were designed to generally be capable of reasoning and thinking soundly,

    What reliable instrument are you using to make that assement?

    than that a concatenation of accidents and their consequences by massive luck got it right.

    I prefer to believe that a brain capable of learning is capable of reasoned thinking, we need to teach logic, logical fallacies are the proof of the necessity of that.

    If truth was paramount to the designer,why the design of emotions which if anything promote unreasoned thinking?

    But actually, there is no good obse4vational evidence that such blind chance and necessity can even surmount the barrier to get to the FSCO/I in a living cell much less the functional capacities we have.

    Unless of course one doesn’t assume his conclusion and life is observational proof the there is no barrier

  45. 45
    goodusername says:

    KF,

    By what bootstrap do we pull ourselves out of the muck of the non-rational into the self aware, conscious, reasoning, knowing? With what reason to trust our cognitive capacities?

    Good question, what is the bootstrap to pull ourselves out of the muck? To believe that an intelligent Creator designed our brains for truth? But you have to already trust your brain to believe that idea. And around we go.

  46. 46
    Seversky says:

    An example of self-referential absurdity is a theory called evolutionary epistemology, a naturalistic approach that applies evolution to the process of knowing. The theory proposes that the human mind is a product of natural selection. The implication is that the ideas in our minds were selected for their survival value, not for their truth-value.

    The last sentence is the flaw that fatally undermines the whole argument. Why should we assume that truth and survival are inconsistent? Your chances of survival in a dangerous world are greater the truer your understanding of that world is.

    I’m sure we’re all familiar with various instances from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries where certain indigenous people developed the conviction that if their faith were held with absolute certainty they would be immune to the white man’s bullets. I think we all have a good idea of how those confrontations between religious truth and European military technology turned out.

    We all talk glibly about truth as if we are certain of what it is. But are we? What is truth?

    As I see it, there is an observable, objective world outside me in which I live and which I believe to be real. Statements, assertions, claims, explanations, hypotheses or theories we make about the nature of this world are true in the older meanings of the word (from Merriam-Webster):

    : 2 the quality or state of being accurate (as in alignment or adjustment) —used in the phrases in true and out of true

    : to make level, square, balanced, or concentric : bring or restore to a desired mechanical accuracy or form

    In other words, this is a correspondence theory of truth. The degree of truth of a statement is the extent to which it aligns with – or corresponds to – observable reality. Models of observable reality which more closely correspond to the way that reality is give you a better chance of navigating through – and surviving in – that reality.

  47. 47
    tjguy says:

    Zachriel @ 27

    tjguy: If my mind evolved in such a way as to make belief in God a good strategy for survival and yours evolved in such a way as to make belief in Materialism a good strategy for survival, how do we know whose mind is right?

    People may have a propensity to ascribe spirit to things and events. This allows them to map between two complex phenomena, such as a chaotic sky god and chaotic weather patterns. Presumably this facility has substantial variation, and is tempered considerably by culture, especially modern scientific culture.

    OK, so that’s how you see it. Great. I evaluate things a bit differently, thanks to the brain evolution gave me. Some think as you do, but I think that some people, thanks to the evolved monkey mind that evolution blessed them with, have a propensity NOT to believe in God and to ascribe miraculous powers to untestable natural processes. Abiogenesis would be the supreme example here. Presumably, believing in abiogenesis fits your mindset and the evolved monkey brain that makes you who you are. But using my evolved mind to evaluate the data leads me to conclude something totally different – namely that belief in God is the most reasonable explanation for life, mind, beauty, design, and the universe itself.

    Again, the bottom line is, how do we know which evolved monkey brain is trustworthy – if any! Science cannot answer this question because we do not have experimental evidence of abiogenesis or of the many mind blowing supposed evolutionary transitions. Given the mind evolution gave me, I guess I can’t help it if I can’t believe or evaluate things like your mind does. However, if I am merely an animal that can be conditioned to believe in anything, there is still hope for me. Perhaps a little more reprogramming will turn me into a Materialist too. So far though, it hasn’t worked. But you can keep hoping and propagating your ideas/thoughts/beliefs. Maybe one day my mind will finally be reconditioned and my transition to an evolutionary machine will be complete.

    tjguy: Can we trust our reasoning and our thoughts formed from the chemical secretions in either brain?

    Not completely. A simple example is an optical illusion. More generally, people have a great deal of difficulty understanding the scale of many scientific findings, whether the quantum scale, the cosmological scale, or the great age of the earth.

    Exactly right. Another thing that is necessary to have accurate reasoning is accurate information on which to base that reasoning. We just don’t have all the information we need to make accurate conclusions about the past. How often do we find things that overturn previously held beliefs concerning the past. This happens all the time in evolution and the historical sciences especially. Just recently the tired old Darwinian canard about the backward wiring of the eye was put to rest by some Israeli scientists who found out why it is designed as it is. The point is that there are tons of anomalies that don’t fit with theory – which shows that we don’t have all the necessary information needed to claim that we “know” what happened. Of course, all scientific knowledge is tentative in this sense, but it doesn’t give us much confidence when things that we “know” are constantly being shown to be wrong. that which is confirmed by experiment over and over again is MUCH MORE CERTAIN and TRUSTWORTHY than the stuff that is not and can not be.

    And, another thing that is helpful is a foundation for reason which Materialism cannot provide.

    tjguy: If our brains and thoughts are not selected for truth value, but for survival value, can we really trust them? Why or why not?

    Humans are pretty good at judging aspects of the world that relate to their original evolution.

    Interesting! Are you thinking of the fact that most people believe in a Creator when you say that? Probably not, so I’m not tracking with you here.

    But apart from that, how do you know they are good at it? By what standard do you make that judgment? It would seem to me that you would have to know what is actually true in order to evaluate the ability of humans to judge this. Are you claiming to have such knowledge? Do you have access to the ultimate standard by which to measure people’s response so that you can make that black and white pronouncement?

    To be honest, Zachriel, you sound quite arrogant here and a bit condescending. You seem to be stating your opinion as fact here. (Maybe I am misunderstanding what you are trying to say?)

    Are there other ways to know things than the scientific method? Is that a corollary to what you are saying here? Are you admitting that there are other means to knowledge?

    tjguy: The point is, that this undermines all reasoning and truth/knowledge claims.

    It means that humans can’t completely trust their senses. That’s why it took science to overthrow many false beliefs. Philosophy wasn’t enough.

    You are familiar I am sure with the philosophy of science. Science depends on philosophy to work. And the philosophy of science points out some of the limitations of science because it makes clear what assumptions must be taken to be true a priori. Philosophy is not enough, but neither is science enough – especially when we delve into the unreachable, unrepeatable, untestable, and only semi-observable past.

    Another great example of scientists making truth claims and being deceived because of lack of information is this on the national geographic website: “Astronomers Find a Dusty Galaxy That Shouldn’t Exist” An object from the very early universe is bafflingly rich with dust that theory says shouldn’t have formed yet.

    A subtitle in the article reads like this: “What Astronomers Think They Know”

    That is the way we should put it. We think this is true, based on the information we have now. Usually though, it is not stated like this, but rather we are told what scientists actually know these things. With anomalies such as this theory defying dusty galaxy, we realize that we really don’t know what we think we know.

    From crev.info

    Philosophers of science know that there is no one “scientific method,” nor are there any criteria to demarcate science from pseudoscience. Many science reporters (and cosmologists like George Ellis and Joe Silk) seem oblivious to that fact. C. S. Lewis even said there is no such thing as “scientific” thinking, only “logical” thinking. You cannot blindly crank a “scientific method” machine and crank out knowledge. There are inevitable assumptions about the nature of reality involved. There are numerous “unknown unknowns” involved. Great scientists often succeed through tacit knowledge (abductive inference), not just mechanical methods. And any method or procedure is useless without integrity. Science is distinct over other disciplines only in its subject matter (“nature,” whatever that refers to), not its need for honesty, discipline, and critique. Historians need these attributes. Theologians need these attributes. Everyone needs these attributes. We would do well to stop treating “science” as a sacred cow superior to other endeavors.
    Some try to exalt science because of its results: space flight, lasers, and the works. But it should be noted that ancient peoples achieved monumental results for their time—some of which cannot be duplicated today—without following a “scientific method.” Certain methods dubbed “scientific” are merely more refined ways to organize one’s thoughts so as not to be misled, and to build on accumulated knowledge from others. Any field—law, politics, journalism, art—can progress by doing similar things. Science has its share of false leads, backtracks, and misconceptions. Some of the worst are going on right now: e.g., materialism, Darwinism, and the idea that “consensus” trumps critical thinking. – See more at: http://crev.info/2015/03/scien.....9jWAV.dpuf

  48. 48
    tjguy says:

    Velikovskys @37

    tjguy: Can we trust our reasoning and our thoughts formed from the chemical secretions in either brain?

    Why do you assume that we can trust our reasoning and thoughts if they are created by an unknown designer with unknown abilities for unknown reasons?
    We are all in the same boat.

    It makes much more sense of reality to me. A Materialist has no foundation for reason whatsoever, but the Judeo Christian worldview does provide that foundation. To me, it is a better and more fulfilling and meaningful explanation of reality.

    The Bible reveals, as does nature, a God of order, design, and beauty(there are, of course, many exceptions due to human sin and the curse that sin incurred on humanity and on God’s creation.)

    The Bible says that God created us for relationship with Him. If we humans all have a desire to know where we came from, why we are here, where we are going, etc., if the Designer made us with those desires, unless He is a capricious meanie, it makes total sense that He would reveal these answers to us.

    Reason, truth, morality, beauty, love, etc. These things make total sense within the Judeo Christian worldview, but they don’t make sense in the Materialist worldview.

    You are free to believe in evolved monkey brains that make humans biological pawns of the chemical processes in those brains if you want, but for me, the God hypothesis is a far better explanation of reality.

    You’ll have to forgive me. Evolution made my brain. I have no idea whether my thoughts are accurate or not, but I have no choice but to see things as I do. Right now, due to the evolved monkey brain that evolution blessed me with, that is what I think. It is how I evaluate the matter. It makes me happy and fulfilled and seems accurate to me, so I’m gonna stick with it!

    And personally, I’m happy that I was blessed with a religious brain, as you are probably happy that you were not.

  49. 49
    tjguy says:

    A bit OT maybe, but another result of the evolutionary hypothesis – besides robbing us of our foundation for truth and reason – is that it robs us of our foundation for morality.

    Here is another insightful post from crev.info:

    Darwinian Outrage: An Oxymoron

    The question brings up a deeper quandary: how could Darwin-soaked western intellectuals respond with moral outrage? Darwinian ideology views humans as mere animals, and societal actions as evolutionary strategies. Altruism is a biological thing; birds do it (Nature); monkeys do it (Nature); even altruistic bacteria share their food (Nature). For all science knows, global warming caused the Syrian terrorism (PNAS). Such beliefs undermine moral outrage; it’s not an ideology that is turning these radicals into murderers and destroyers of history, they would say. It’s just their evolutionary strategy.

    Religion, to Darwinians (who most often are also politically left-leaning), is a strategy as well. Science Magazine has a piece entitled, “To foster complex societies, tell people a god is watching.” Writer Lizzie Wade and her editorial bosses at the AAAS are not about to grant even white space to the notion that there might actually be a God (certainly not a moral Lawgiver). In the Darwinian mindset, if tribal leaders have been successful at keeping underlings behaving by telling them a moral and powerful “god” is watching, then that has been a useful evolutionary strategy. PhysOrg echoed this “research” that Australian Darwinians put out in a Royal Society paper. The abstract makes the Darwinian connection clear: “Supernatural belief presents an explanatory challenge to evolutionary theorists—it is both costly and prevalent,” they say, but then they proceed to explain it in Darwinian terms: “Our results show the power of phylogenetic methods to address long-standing debates about the origins and functions of religion in human society.” It’s all an evolutionary game (see BBC News); it occurs spontaneously among human populations as naturally as it does among bacterial colonies. Both sides are morally equivalent.

    Accordingly, who can oppose ISIS with courage and conviction? At best, the “cooperators” band together to oppose the “cheaters” – but those labels only apply to the majority and minority in the population. The ratio can change at any time. ISIS has, indeed become the majority against the Christians, Jews, and Yazidis in the region. As Christians who have lived in Syria and Iraq for two millennia are wiped out, the Darwinian can only watch dispassionately from the sidelines and remark, “natural selection in action.”

    Incidentally, Philip Ball says in Nature that complex societies have evolved without belief in an all-powerful deity. In the short article, he used the word “evolution” or its cognates 10 times. Since evolution yields opposite outcomes with equal facility, it shows itself to be, once again, a restatement of the Stuff Happens Law.

    We live in ominous times, with evil rising and few statesmen to oppose it (Netanyahu being an outstanding exception). We learned nothing from the 1930s, when appeasers let dictators get out of hand, costing tens of millions of lives in World War II. Atrocities on the level of the worst committed by the Nazis and communists in the last century are now, in our time, being committed by Islamic terrorists. But what is uglier: the torture and murder of innocents by ISIS, or the evolutionary ideology that robs the righteous of their moral foundation to oppose it?

    – See more at: http://crev.info/2015/03/isis-.....bhPst.dpuf

  50. 50
    kairosfocus says:

    VS:

    Let’s take on points:

    >> KF: a designer is purposeful and evidently skilled,

    VS: Seems reasonable,though what means do we know that purpose requires human thoughts and reasoning to be trustworthy? The assumption that our means of reasoning is trustworthy to make that reasoning that it is trustworthy?>>

    1 –> Don’t you see how this is riddled with necessarily accepting that we can perceive accurately, warrant, reason and know? On evo mat premises none of this is grounded. Which was my point — incoherence.

    2 –> At any rate, you here show just how you are forced to acknowledge or assume general trustworthiness of human faculties of cognition, even as you try to selectively project skepticism. (The underlying attitude of suspicion and/or hostility towards a small-c creator . . . echoing that towards a big-C Creator, is duly noted also.)

    3 –> The canons of inference to best explanation then point to a need to ground that confidence. As was outlined and linked onwards in 10 above, evo mat fails here.

    >> KF: chem rxns etc are not purposeful or capable of debugging and troubleshooting of the scope required for what is needed,

    VS: You seem to know a lot about how this designer works,funny how its technological skills match modern humans. Advanced enough to travel vast distances but still debugging and troubleshooting. I wonder how the designer knows its mind is trustworthy?>>

    4 –> You twisted the focus, setting up and knocking over a strawman. I spoke here to the evo mat frame of blind chance and mechanical necessity working through manipulating brain and wider CNS electrochemistry, also reflecting knowledge and experience of designing and building information processing and communication systems . . . trial and error even with a lot of the knowledge and skill blind chemistry does not have, has to do a LOT of debugging and troubleshooting.

    5 –> Note Sir Francis Crick, cited at 10 above as the very first point, which you ignored . . . but it is a big part of my thought context; here, in his 1994 The Astonishing Hypothesis:

    . . . that “You”, your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behaviour of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules. As Lewis Carroll’s Alice might have phrased: “You’re nothing but a pack of neurons.” This hypothesis is so alien to the ideas of most people today that it can truly be called astonishing.

    6 –> Philip Johnson’s apt response in his 1995 Reason in the Balance follows immediately in no 10:

    Philip Johnson has replied that Sir Francis should have therefore been willing to preface his works thusly: “I, Francis Crick, my opinions and my science, and even the thoughts expressed in this book, consist of nothing more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules.” Johnson then acidly commented: “[[t]he plausibility of materialistic determinism requires that an implicit exception be made for the theorist.” [[Reason in the Balance, 1995.] . . . .

    7 –> VS, if you adhere to much the same view, the same stricture applies; your own argument is not a convenient exception, but you are forced to act as though Haldane the famed early Neo-Darwinian and OOL theorist, was right (and again as was cited in 10 above but ignored):

    “It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms. In order to escape from this necessity of sawing away the branch on which I am sitting, so to speak, I am compelled to believe that mind is not wholly conditioned by matter.” [[“When I am dead,” in Possible Worlds: And Other Essays [1927], Chatto and Windus: London, 1932, reprint, p.209 . . . ]

    8 –> That is exactly what you just did, but on evo mat there is nothing but mass, energy, particles, space-time, blind chance and mechanical necessity to drive anything. In order to argue to support your apparent view you are forced to act on nthe premise that it is not.

    >> KF: and the blind mechanism proposed is utterly irrelevant to purpose, truth, accuracy, validity, truth, etc.

    VS: It is not blind,the brain has the ability to learn,accuracy is rewarded, linking observations is rewarded, communication is rewarded, logic is rewarded. If you anticipate where the animals will be by the locations of the constellations , you are rewarding reasoning. Each generation passing along the tribal knowledge, if it is wrong,no tribe.>>

    9 –> I just showed by citation from a more extended argument why I have good grounds and you do not. There is just no grounds for giving chemistry plus chance generating trials plus culling by differential reproductive success giving elimination of errors — which vastly outnumber possible successful configs [it takes a LOT of knowledge and skill to bring a system close enough to working that testing and troubleshooting can eliminate remaining faults] — such wonderful, almost magical powers.

    >> KF: There is on the face of it far better reason to trust that we were designed to generally be capable of reasoning and thinking soundly,

    VS: What reliable instrument are you using to make that assement?>>

    10 –> The same point from Haldane and Johnson vs Crick, again.

    >> KF: than that a concatenation of accidents and their consequences by massive luck got it right.

    VS: I prefer to believe that a brain capable of learning is capable of reasoned thinking, we need to teach logic, logical fallacies are the proof of the necessity of that.

    If truth was paramount to the designer,why the design of emotions which if anything promote unreasoned thinking?>>

    11 –> The same basic ignored point, again; in effect the above as cited is a grand case of setting up and knocking over a strawman caricature.

    12 –> Also, there is a misunderstanding of the emotional.

    13 –> Our emotions are deeply cognitive and that cognition is often but not always right. That is, we feel a strong protective response to perceptions, evaluations and judgements, blended with purposes and values of the heart that embed goals and agendas.

    14 –> The issue is not with feeling a surge of fear and hormonally released strength to jump out of the way of a car on the road, but whether that is appropriately responsive to an accurate assessment . . . though in such a case, there may be 1/2 s so response is almost instinctual.

    15 –> Our challenge is to acquire the wisdom to perceive, judge and live aright, resisting the tempting pull to the wrong . . . which reveals itself by questionable motives, incoherence and the like.

    16 –> That we are finite, fallible, often morally struggling or blinded by wrong motives etc, means that we have a spiritual growth challenge, it does not mean that we are crippled from learning, thinking and acting towards the right. (And the whole question of being under moral government is another hole in the evo mat view.)

    >> KF: But actually, there is no good obse4vational evidence that such blind chance and necessity can even surmount the barrier to get to the FSCO/I in a living cell much less the functional capacities we have.

    VS: Unless of course one doesn’t assume his conclusion and life is observational proof the there is no barrier >>

    17 –> The challenge faced by blind chance and mechanical necessity in a Darwin’s pond or the like to spontaneously get to FSCO/I rich cell based life — cf. here as a start, onlookers — is no mere “assumption,” it is a major challenge to OOL studies.

    18 –> A challenge that gets bigger by the year never mind overconfident headlines and repeated promissory notes on future progress of “Science.”

    19 –> The underlying point is, that to avoid dominance of science by ideologically rooted speculative ideas the Galilean principle that our key hyps must be subject to empirical tests must be adhered to — science must at minimum be empirically testable and found empirically reliable.

    20 –> On this, Newton championed that especially for things remote from us that are not accessible to direct inspection, we must address traces based on like causes like; i.e. explain by causes shown adequate to the effects — vera causa.

    21 –> In this case VS, you have substituted a circularity in argument dismissing a barrier that is manifestly there. (CHartsil, were he more than a trollish objectionist, would do well to heed this too.)

    22 –> In a high contingency situation, where function emerges from many correctly arranged, coupled interacting parts there necessarily will be vastly more clumped or scattered non-functional configs than the ones that work . . . there is a whole planet or more to scatter the bits and pieces across. This even obtains in the ambit of a pond, just dice up into cells and count up ways to arrange parts (a classic stat thermo-d approach).

    23 –> Thus, the FSCO/I blind needle in haystack challenge to find deeply isolated islands of function directly emerges. Dismissive rhetoric may paper it over, but it has not gone away.

    24 –> And your response lets us see where the gap lies: circularity from matter-energy blindly groping must be all there is, to here we are, so the barrier cannot be real.

    25 –> Oops.

    _____________

    KF

  51. 51
    kairosfocus says:

    CHartsil, you have shown yourself to be a strawman caricature specialist. The real issue lies here as a first example, functional specificity of configs is real, and especially when tied to complexity beyond 500 – 1,000 bits, is highly relevant to the world of cell based life. So much so that to object insistently in the teeth of correction, you find yourself repeatedly setting up and knocking over a strawman caricature long after such blunders have been repeatedly corrected and pointed out to you with reasons and evidence given. When that happens, the import is, the strawman tactic is willfully manipulative and trollishly deceitful. It is high time to do better, but it seems we have to put up another illustration of why you have made yourself a poster child of what has gone wrong. KF

  52. 52
    kairosfocus says:

    GUN & Seversky: Kindly cf 50 above i/l/o 10 further above. KF

  53. 53
    kairosfocus says:

    TJ, the deep coherence of the Judaeo-Christian worldview is indeed a powerful line of evidence. And, indeed the utter want of an IS capable of grounding OUGHT (which underlies even so much of debate towards credible truth) for evo mat is yet another sign of its utter incoherence. KF

  54. 54
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: read 21 here by the much “misunderestimated” BA77. KF

  55. 55
    CHartsil says:

    KF, yet again you confuse asserting life being designed for life actually being designed.

  56. 56
    velikovskys says:

    tjguy:
    It makes much more sense of reality to me. A Materialist has no foundation for reason whatsoever, but the Judeo Christian worldview does provide that foundation. To me, it is a better and more fulfilling and meaningful explanation of reality.

    Reason is derived,my point.

    The Bible reveals, as does nature, a God of order, design, and beauty(there are, of course, many exceptions due to human sin and the curse that sin incurred on humanity and on God’s creation.)

    Not the best design ,imo

    The Bible says that God created us for relationship with Him. If we humans all have a desire to know where we came from, why we are here, where we are going, etc., if the Designer made us with those desires, unless He is a capricious meanie, it makes total sense that He would reveal these answers to us.

    I disagree, I think it is the journey not the destination which provides the answers.

    Reason, truth, morality, beauty, love, etc. These things make total sense within the Judeo Christian worldview, but they don’t make sense in the Materialist worldview.

    Those of course are not the only two choices.

    You are free to believe in evolved monkey brains that make humans biological pawns of the chemical processes in those brains if you want, but for me, the God hypothesis is a far better explanation of reality.

    It is a far more comforting one, better who knows?

    You’ll have to forgive me. Evolution made my brain. I have no idea whether my thoughts are accurate or not,

    That is why you test those ideas and learn, even monkeys do that. Perhaps in order to have free will uncertainty must exist, surely God is capable of removing all doubt about His existence if He chose. Why doesn’t He?

    but I have no choice but to see things as I do. Right now, due to the evolved monkey brain that evolution blessed me with, that is what I think. It is how I evaluate the matter. It makes me happy and fulfilled and seems accurate to me, so I’m gonna stick with it!

    That is reasonable as long as you afford others the same choice.

    And personally, I’m happy that I was blessed with a religious brain, as you are probably happy that you were not.

    Same brain, different solutions to the same problem. Glad you are happy that would be a good indicator of a successful philosophy.

  57. 57
    velikovskys says:

    Ch:

    KF, yet again you confuse asserting life being designed for life actually being designed.

    You have to admit, it cuts out all the fuss and muss.

  58. 58
    kairosfocus says:

    VS (attn CH): Science works by induction. Either you have a problem with science or you have a problem with selective hyperskepticism, when the investigations tell us (a) that FSCO/I is a strong sign of design as cause and (b) that cell based life is full of FSCO/I; leading per inference to best explanation, to the reasonable inference that (c) credibly, cell based life is designed. Probably, the latter. KF

    PS: If you wish to break that inference, simply sho us observed cases of FSCO/I coming about per observation, by blind chance and mechanical necessity. It becomes hard to escape the conclusion that the rhetorical gymnastics we are seeing these days is precisely because after many failed attempts it is clear that this has not been shown. FSCO/I is currently best explained by design and given the blind needle in haystack search challenge, this is unlikely to change.

  59. 59
    Zachriel says:

    tjguy: But using my evolved mind to evaluate the data leads me to conclude something totally different – namely that belief in God is the most reasonable explanation for life, mind, beauty, design, and the universe itself.

    Your views of God are probably highly tempered by your cultural experience.

    tjguy: Again, the bottom line is, how do we know which evolved monkey brain is trustworthy – if any!

    The human mind is not completely trustworthy, however, the scientific method has allowed humans to bootstrap their collective knowledge.

    tjguy: We just don’t have all the information we need to make accurate conclusions about the past.

    In many cases, there is ample information. For instance, it’s fairly certain that mega-dinosaurs once roamed the Earth.

    tjguy: How often do we find things that overturn previously held beliefs concerning the past. This happens all the time in evolution and the historical sciences especially.

    That’s a feature, not a bug.

    tjguy: Are you thinking of the fact that most people believe in a Creator when you say that?

    As already noted, people map complex phenomena to complex personalities in order to better understand them. Generally, science discounts these mappings and replaces them with testable theories.

    tjguy: Are there other ways to know things than the scientific method?

    Of course there are. However, in light of this blog, ID makes a false claim to *scientific* validity.

    tjguy: Philosophy is not enough, but neither is science enough – especially when we delve into the unreachable, unrepeatable, untestable, and only semi-observable past.

    It’s invalid to exclude scientific study of the past. There are many strongly supported scientific findings about the past.

    tjguy: Another great example of scientists making truth claims and being deceived because of lack of information is this on the national geographic website: “Astronomers Find a Dusty Galaxy That Shouldn’t Exist” An object from the very early universe is bafflingly rich with dust that theory says shouldn’t have formed yet.

    Yet, there are such things as galaxies containing billions of stars, like the sun.

    The Relativity of Wrong
    http://chem.tufts.edu/answersi.....fwrong.htm

    tjguy: The question brings up a deeper quandary: how could Darwin-soaked western intellectuals respond with moral outrage?

    It’s not much of a quandary. Human experience moral outrage, just like they may love their kids, or hate brussel sprouts. It’s part of their human natures.

  60. 60
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Onlookers, cf here on why I so confidently say that:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....-relevant/

    KF

  61. 61
    tjguy says:

    Velikovskys @56

    The Bible says that God created us for relationship with Him. If we humans all have a desire to know where we came from, why we are here, where we are going, etc., if the Designer made us with those desires, unless He is a capricious meanie, it makes total sense that He would reveal these answers to us.

    I disagree, I think it is the journey not the destination which provides the answers.

    Disagreement is certainly permissible. Just explaining what the Bible teaches and the Judeo Christian worldview posits.

    Reason, truth, morality, beauty, love, etc. These things make total sense within the Judeo Christian worldview, but they don’t make sense in the Materialist worldview.

    Those of course are not the only two choices.

    If you are aware of another worldview that can explain these things consistently and make sense out of them, I’d love to hear it. Perhaps you could say the Islamic worldview and Judaic worldview also do since they all accept the origin story of the Bible. Maybe you would prefer the Islamic worldview to the Judeo Christian worldview?

    You are free to believe in evolved monkey brains that make humans biological pawns of the chemical processes in those brains if you want, but for me, the God hypothesis is a far better explanation of reality.

    It is a far more comforting one, better who knows?

    So, tell me, if we don’t know which worldview is better, why would I want to choose a less comforting worldview to believe in? Let’s assume for a minute that Materialism is correct. If so, we are nothing more than machines run by chemicals deluded by thoughts of personhood, the existence of self, and morality. Materialism provides little comfort for it’s followers as you admitted. If I return to dust when I die, why does it matter what worldview I choose? Really? If there is no direction or purpose for evolution, why does it matter what worldview I choose? Whatever I choose, it simply becomes part of the whole evolutionary process. So, as far as I can tell, it makes no difference what I do, how I live, or what I believe in the grand scheme of things. Whether I believe in Allah, God, or atheism makes no difference in the end. If so, why would I want to choose atheism when I can find so much more meaning, purpose, love, beauty, consistency, etc. in the Judeo Christian worldview? I can understand why some would prefer there not to be a God as it gives us total freedom to live our lives however we want, but it removes purpose and meaning in life. That is too big of a trade off for me.
    Of course, I do not choose my worldview simply because of utilitarian reasons like this. I choose it because I actually believe it is true, but even if I didn’t, why would I want to choose atheism/materialism?

    You’ll have to forgive me. Evolution made my brain. I have no idea whether my thoughts are accurate or not,

    That is why you test those ideas and learn, even monkeys do that. Perhaps in order to have free will uncertainty must exist, surely God is capable of removing all doubt about His existence if He chose. Why doesn’t He?

    In theory, that sounds really nice. Test our ideas. How can we test the Big Bang? How can we test abiogenesis? How can we test the creative power of natural processes? Can we push a replay button and watch everything evolve from a single cell to a human all over?
    Why doesn’t God remove all doubt of His existence? Good question. He says there is enough evidence of His existence that can be seen in nature that we have no excuse for not believing in His existence. The Bible does speak of the importance of faith. Salvation is by faith. That doesn’t mean blind faith, but yes, faith is necessary. He prefers us to choose to believe in Him, love Him, and follow Him rather than to have people be forced to admit He exists. If you could understand everything about God, you would be greater than He is. There is an element of trust in God and who He is, even if we cannot understand it now or don’t have all the answers now.

    but I have no choice but to see things as I do. Right now, due to the evolved monkey brain that evolution blessed me with, that is what I think. It is how I evaluate the matter. It makes me happy and fulfilled and seems accurate to me, so I’m gonna stick with it!

    That is reasonable as long as you afford others the same choice.

    Of course, we afford others the same choice. It doesn’t mean we give up sharing our beliefs with others, but belief and worldview choices are something that each individual must decide on themselves. We believe people are capable of making these choices and are therefore responsible for the choices we make.
    Blessings!

  62. 62
    Zachriel says:

    tjguy: How can we test the Big Bang?

    The classic test was the discovery of the cosmic background radiation. It was predicted in 1948 by Alpher and Herman, and first detected in 1964 by Penzias and Wilson. Penzias and Wilson were later awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for their discovery.

  63. 63
    tjguy says:

    Zachriel @59

    tjguy: But using my evolved mind to evaluate the data leads me to conclude something totally different – namely that belief in God is the most reasonable explanation for life, mind, beauty, design, and the universe itself.

    Your views of God are probably highly tempered by your cultural experience.

    Well, that is true of you just as much as it is true of me. You act as if only religious nuts are subject to the influence of culture. You cannot exempt yourself from that because you too are a member of the human race and all of our beliefs are informed by our experiences and our culture to some extent, so I’m not sure what your point is.
    As a Christian, my views of God are informed first and foremost by the Bible itself, but yes, I’m sure there is a cultural aspect of it. I normally live in Japan, but was brought up in the US. My Christian culture and practices are definitely informed by my upbringing and cultural experiences, but Christians in Japan view God in much the same way as Christians in the US. The reason is that our beliefs about God come first and primarily, from the Bible, not from culture. At least that is the goal we shoot for.

    tjguy: Again, the bottom line is, how do we know which evolved monkey brain is trustworthy – if any!

    The human mind is not completely trustworthy, however, the scientific method has allowed humans to bootstrap their collective knowledge.

    The scientific method does help a great deal, but when dealing with evolution, cosmology, paleontology, parts of geography, etc., the scientific method is of little help. But even with the scientific method, we have to take certain things for granted – make certain unprovable assumptions, as I’m sure you are aware of from your knowledge of the philosophy of science. At the very foundation of science are assumptions that we must make about the world. Here is where the Judeo Christian worldview comes into play and provides science with a rationale and a solid foundation. This is what materialism is not able to do.

    tjguy: We just don’t have all the information we need to make accurate conclusions about the past.

    In many cases, there is ample information. For instance, it’s fairly certain that mega-dinosaurs once roamed the Earth.

    Yes, fossils can tell us that these animals actually existed in the past. It might even tell us what it ate – if the stomach contents are fossilized. That much is absolutely clear and undeniable. But there is no date stamped on the fossil or tag that tells us where this animal lived. The animal could have died somewhere else and been washed there by water or a flood. Creationists, IDers, and Materialists all have the same fossils. The difference comes in the interpretation of the data. Materialists plug the data into an evolutionary scenario while creationists plug it into the creationist paradigm. Here, both sides make some assumptions.

    tjguy: How often do we find things that overturn previously held beliefs concerning the past. This happens all the time in evolution and the historical sciences especially.

    That’s a feature, not a bug.

    Except that it undermines everything we claim to “know”.
    tjguy: Are you thinking of the fact that most people believe in a Creator when you say that?
    As already noted, people map complex phenomena to complex personalities in order to better understand them. Generally, science discounts these mappings and replaces them with testable theories.

    tjguy: Philosophy is not enough, but neither is science enough – especially when we delve into the unreachable, unrepeatable, untestable, and only semi-observable past.

    It’s invalid to exclude scientific study of the past. There are many strongly supported scientific findings about the past.

    I agree that we can learn some things about the past, but we cannot learn near as much as we can about the present. Even when we piece all the data together and try and make sense of it, we do not necessarily have all the information necessary to do it accurately. And we really have no way of knowing if our “story” is accurate or not because it is outside the reach of the scientific method. The problem we have with historical science is that so often things are presented as if they are just as tried and sure as regular science. The word “science” gives our hypotheses about the past too much credibility. We have people who make bold statements like “Evolution is a fact.” This is a reference to not simply change over time, but to common descent and molecules to man type of random change due only to natural processes and totally void of intelligence. So we do not exclude all study and conclusions about the past, but limit what we can really know. Trying to fit the pieces together is fine, but turning these stories/hypotheses into truth claims/scientific fact is totally invalid.

    tjguy: The question brings up a deeper quandary: how could Darwin-soaked western intellectuals respond with moral outrage?

    It’s not much of a quandary. Human experience moral outrage, just like they may love their kids, or hate brussel sprouts. It’s part of their human natures.

    Of course they do, but the question is “why do they do this?” The point I was trying to make was that again, the Judeo Christian worldview provides a rational explanation for why people justifiably feel a moral outrage when seeing their evil actions. I think that deep down, we all know or at least feel that the antics of ISIS are 100% wrong no matter what culture, what worldview, or what country we live in. We all know it, but Darwinists have to say that it is not wrong in an absolute sense – only wrong in our culture – and even then only wrong in the sense that most people don’t like it – not wrong in the sense that it breaks some absolute moral code. Morality evolves and is relative. There can be no true right and wrong in Materialism, only what is right and wrong as compared to the current in vogue arbitrary human standards. .Materialism cannot provide any firm moral standard on which to make that judgment.
    Why is it moral outrage part of human nature? That is the question! Christianity gives us a better explanation/answer for that than Materialism. Materialism simply says that it developed through evolution, but that there is no absolute moral code. Besides, according to Materialism, ISIS is simply an illustration of evolution in action. Evolution is neither right nor wrong. It just is. It just happens. Humans are part of evolution as are their actions, thoughts, and motives. So how can Materialists claim that what they are doing is wrong and get outraged at the evil and injustice? Illegal? Yes, but it is not illegal in their society! Do you want to impose our cultural values on them? Why? Why do you feel your moral standards are any more valid than their moral standards? Who gives you the right to judge and condemn them? It seems a bit arrogant to me to think our cultural ideas are any more valid than another culture’s standards – UNLESS – there truly is an absolute moral standard that they have broken. Again, imo, Christianity seems to have the more rational and satisfying answer for this problem.

    [There I go again thinking that my thoughts actually have value and can be trusted! Shame on me!! How am I ever going to learn?!!]

  64. 64
    Zachriel says:

    tjguy: Well, that is true of you just as much as it is true of me. You act as if only religious nuts are subject to the influence of culture.

    Where did you get that idea?

    tjguy: The reason is that our beliefs about God come first and primarily, from the Bible, not from culture. At least that is the goal we shoot for.

    The Bible is a cultural artifact. Using the Bible as a primary source on Christian spiritual matters is the result of changes in technology (printing press) and the Protestant Reformation.

    tjguy: The scientific method does help a great deal, but when dealing with evolution, cosmology, paleontology, parts of geography, etc., the scientific method is of little help.

    Did you know that some species of dinosaur nested in colonies like terns? That they fed their young in the nest? Science is amazing!

    tjguy: That much is absolutely clear and undeniable. But there is no date stamped on the fossil or tag that tells us where this animal lived.

    Fossils can be dated relatively, by their stratigraphic position; or absolutely, through radiometrics.

    tjguy: The difference comes in the interpretation of the data.

    In science, it’s not interpretation, but hypothetical entailments that are determinative.

    tjguy: Except that it undermines everything we claim to “know”.

    The Relativity of Wrong
    http://chem.tufts.edu/answersi.....fwrong.htm

    tjguy: I agree that we can learn some things about the past, but we cannot learn near as much as we can about the present.

    Some scientific findings about the past are very well-established. Some scientific findings about the present are not well-known at all.

    tjguy: Trying to fit the pieces together is fine, but turning these stories/hypotheses into truth claims/scientific fact is totally invalid.

    Yet dinosaurs once roamed the Earth.

    tjguy: Of course they do, but the question is “why do they do this?”

    They’re born that way. Turns out that some people have a gene (TAS2R38) that makes them dislike brussel sprouts.

  65. 65
    velikovskys says:

    KF:
    VS (attn CH): Science works by induction. Either you have a problem with science or you have a problem with selective hyperskepticism,

    No problem with induction but also understand its limitations. I have been a bit sick lately but I don’t think it was hyperskepticism.

    when the investigations tell us (a) that FSCO/I is a strong sign of design as cause

    You forget I think that a non intelligent directed cofigurations are also a form of design.

    (b) that cell based life is full of FSCO/I; leading per inference to best explanation, to the reasonable inference that (c) credibly, cell based life is designed.

    What are then other explanations that were less best? Who impartially judged it best? Perhaps you are suffering from selective hyposkepticism

    PS: If you wish to break that inference, simply sho us observed cases of FSCO/I coming about per observation, by blind chance and mechanical necessity.

    Maybe simpler characterized as ” by chance and mechanism ” Life is the observed case, that is the point of providing some kind of mechanism, it provides support to the hypothesis,

    It seems to me that a hypothesis that requires a designer should be able to provide the odds that a capable designer exists before it is judged as best explanation,for instance. Greater or less than chance and mechanism?

    It becomes hard to escape the conclusion that the rhetorical gymnastics we are seeing these days is precisely because after many failed attempts it is clear that this has not been shown.

    I thought it was a well reasoned ,insightful argument which mostly you just ignored. Funny how unreliable the brain is.

    FSCO/I is currently best explained by design and given the blind needle in haystack search challenge, this is unlikely to change.

    I am no expert but perhaps the model of ” search ” is inaccurate, therefore your odds are inaccurate as well.

  66. 66
    velikovskys says:

    Zach:
    They’re born that way. Turns out that some people have a gene (TAS2R38) that makes them dislike brussel sprouts

    What is the gene for loving bacon?

    TJguy
    but when dealing with evolution, cosmology, paleontology, parts of geography, etc., the scientific method is of little help.

    Which parts of geography? Are some parts of geography controversial?

  67. 67
    kairosfocus says:

    VS:

    This caught my eye, per how one slice of a cake has in it all the key ingredients:

    KF [cf 50 supra]: when the investigations tell us (a) that FSCO/I is a strong sign of design as cause

    VS: You forget I think that a non intelligent directed cofigurations are also a form of design.

    This seems a rather new-speak-esque conflation and — with all due respect — confusion of incongrous concepts.

    I am very aware that evolutionary materialists often use “design” to denote functional configs, meaning how wonderful is their favourite all-answering plot device of blind chance non-foresighted variation and differential reproductive success based culling to answer to body plans.

    The truth is, such has simply not passed the observed causal adequacy test, the vera causa principle; particularly where FSCO/I beyond 500 – 1,000 bits is involved. Purposeful, intelligently directed configuration issuing in contrivance, is a well known readily observed cause of FSCO/I. The only one we know after thousands of years of observation amounting to trillions of cases. A strong basis for confident induction.

    But, the root issue is deeper.

    On a priori evolutionary materialism, self aware consciousness and freely chosen purpose are regarded as in effect illusions, epiphenomena and folk psychology etc concepts along for the ride on the “real” world of CNS wiring and electrochemistry. As Crick et al have plainly said.

    This tends to empty the real force of terms, just as Orwell’s New-Speak so powerfully satirised and exposed.

    But, those of us who have had to wrestle with the hard business of significant real world technical system design (and then onwards with the issue of how one shapes future designers through pivotal strategic education of the upcoming generation of engineers) have a very different view of design. We actually have to get things to work, and get effective socio-technical systems to work through effective engineering education. (BTW, after much struggle through the minefield of such edu systems design, signs are, the design framework 10++ years on, had good bones.)

    I find that the lead-in to Wiki’s article on design captures a description that rings true:

    Design is the creation of a plan or convention for the construction of an object or a system (as in architectural blueprints, engineering drawings, business processes, circuit diagrams and sewing patterns).[1] Design has different connotations in different fields (see design disciplines below). In some cases the direct construction of an object (as in pottery, engineering, management, cowboy coding and graphic design) is also considered to be design.

    More formally design has been defined as follows.

    (noun) a specification of an object, manifested by an agent, intended to accomplish goals, in a particular environment, using a set of primitive components, satisfying a set of requirements, subject to constraints;
    (verb, transitive) to create a design, in an environment (where the designer operates)[2]

    Another definition for design is a roadmap or a strategic approach for someone to achieve a unique expectation. It defines the specifications, plans, parameters, costs, activities, processes and how and what to do within legal, political, social, environmental, safety and economic constraints in achieving that objective.[3]

    Here, a “specification” can be manifested as either a plan or a finished product, and “primitives” are the elements from which the design object is composed.

    With such a broad denotation, there is no universal language or unifying institution for designers of all disciplines. This allows for many differing philosophies and approaches toward the subject (see Philosophies and studies of design, below).

    The person designing is called a designer, which is also a term used for people who work professionally in one of the various design areas, usually also specifying which area is being dealt with (such as a fashion designer, concept designer or web designer). A designer’s sequence of activities is called a design process. The scientific study of design is called design science.[4][5][6][7]

    Designing often necessitates considering the aesthetic, functional, economic and sociopolitical dimensions of both the design object and design process. It may involve considerable research, thought, modeling, interactive adjustment, and re-design. Meanwhile, diverse kinds of objects may be designed, including clothing, graphical user interfaces, skyscrapers, corporate identities, business processes and even methods of designing.

    Notice, the way “specification” is used, BTW, as there have been attempts to twist that term into rhetorical pretzels.

    Design lives in the world we actually experience, of responsible, choosing, purposing, contriving agency. Intelligently directed configuration.

    This is the very opposite of configurations resulting from blind walks across configuration spaces driven by blind chance and mechanical necessity.

    The distinction should be respected, and if design can be shown to be a delusion then let that be so and let the word go out of usage. But, I doubt that that will ever happen as long as people have to actually design things that must work in the real world.

    Trying to rewrite what design properly denotes to enfold precisely what is its antithesis, is in my considered view a gross confusion of important language that does not contribute to serious discussion.

    KF

    PS: There is no one size fits all sci method that delimits science as an epistemically privileged praxis. Never mind the usual summary taught in primary school these days. Scientism fails. Inductive, careful and appropriate methods of investigation as well as more analytical and abstract logic and math, or philosophical comparative difficulties, or balancing pros and cons or evaluating testimony or record etc etc all should be respected.

  68. 68
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS: Start in a Darwin’s pond or the like and show ingredients coming together by blind chance and equally blind lawlike mechanical necessity — “mechanism” is another pretzel-twist rhetorical game — yielding a walk across possible configs and arrangements of atoms and molecules, then tell me that a blind search in config space approach is wrong. Similarly, ponder the realities of specific function emerging from correct parts correctly arranged and coupled per a nodes-arcs pattern and complex enough to require 500 – 1,000+ bits of structured description on y/n q’s, then tell me that islands of function in large config spaces is wrong. Next, explain to us how blind trial and error through blind walks in such spaces will credibly per observational warrant not ideologically loaded just so stories, get us to such islands with reasonable plausibility. Then, you tell me why understanding search via blind walk on sampling blindly from the power set of such a config space is wrong. Until then, I suggest to you that De Nile is a river in Egypt.

  69. 69
    Piotr says:

    What is the gene for loving bacon?

    I suppose GRM1 and GRM4, as well as TAS1R1 and TAS1R3 play a role. The first two encode for metabotropic glutamate receptor proteins, and the next two for taste receptors type 1 (sweetness). Together, they are responsible for recognising “meaty” (umami) tastes.

  70. 70
    bornagain77 says:

    Piotr, so GRM1 and GRM4, as well as TAS1R1 and TAS1R3 ‘love’ meaty tastes?

    So people who do not ‘love bacon’ do not have those particular genes/proteins???

    Piotr, please try answering the question “What is the gene for ‘loving’ bacon?” without attributing properties of agency to the genes themselves will you?

    ,,,as Stephen Talbott has clearly pointed out, a major problem with Darwinian explanations is how to describe the complexities of life without illegitimately using terminology that invokes agency,,,

    The ‘Mental Cell’: Let’s Loosen Up Biological Thinking! – Stephen L. Talbott – September 9, 2014
    Excerpt: Many biologists are content to dismiss the problem with hand-waving: “When we wield the language of agency, we are speaking metaphorically, and we could just as well, if less conveniently, abandon the metaphors”.
    Yet no scientist or philosopher has shown how this shift of language could be effected. And the fact of the matter is just obvious: the biologist who is not investigating how the organism achieves something in a well-directed way is not yet doing biology, as opposed to physics or chemistry. Is this in turn just hand-waving? Let the reader inclined to think so take up a challenge: pose a single topic for biological research, doing so in language that avoids all implication of agency, cognition, and purposiveness1.
    One reason this cannot be done is clear enough: molecular biology — the discipline that was finally going to reduce life unreservedly to mindless mechanism — is now posing its own severe challenges. In this era of Big Data, the message from every side concerns previously unimagined complexity, incessant cross-talk and intertwining pathways, wildly unexpected genomic performances, dynamic conformational changes involving proteins and their cooperative or antagonistic binding partners, pervasive multifunctionality, intricately directed behavior somehow arising from the interaction of countless players in interpenetrating networks, and opposite effects by the same molecules in slightly different contexts. The picture at the molecular level begins to look as lively and organic — and thoughtful — as life itself.
    http://natureinstitute.org/txt.....ell_23.htm

    This working biologist agrees completely with Talbott:

    Life, Purpose, Mind: Where the Machine Metaphor Fails – Ann Gauger – June 2011
    Excerpt: I’m a working biologist, on bacterial regulation (transcription and translation and protein stability) through signalling molecules, ,,, I can confirm the following points as realities: we lack adequate conceptual categories for what we are seeing in the biological world; with many additional genomes sequenced annually, we have much more data than we know what to do with (and making sense of it has become the current challenge); cells are staggeringly chock full of sophisticated technologies, which are exquisitely integrated; life is not dominated by a single technology, but rather a composite of many; and yet life is more than the sum of its parts; in our work, we biologists use words that imply intentionality, functionality, strategy, and design in biology–we simply cannot avoid them.
    Furthermore, I suggest that to maintain that all of biology is solely a product of selection and genetic decay and time requires a metaphysical conviction that isn’t troubled by the evidence. Alternatively, it could be the view of someone who is unfamiliar with the evidence, for one reason or another. But for those who will consider the evidence that is so obvious throughout biology, I suggest it’s high time we moved on. – Matthew
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....nt-8858161

  71. 71
    bornagain77 says:

    Piotr, perhaps this following humorous video can help you see the patent absurdity of your genetic reductionism position:

    John Cleese – The Scientists
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-M-vnmejwXo

  72. 72
    Piotr says:

    So people who do not ‘love bacon’ do not have those particular genes/proteins???

    Maybe you could read what I said with a little more care. I said the genes in question “play a role”, not that any sort of agency can be ascribed to them.

    I suppose people who love bacon have well-developed receptors enabling them to appreciate its taste.

  73. 73
    Joe says:

    If living organisms are not intelligently designed then what are the alternatives and how can they be tested?

    Please be specific

  74. 74
    velikovskys says:

    KF
    KF [cf 50 supra]: when the investigations tell us (a) that FSCO/I is a strong sign of design as cause

    VS: You forget I think that a non intelligent directed cofigurations are also a form of design.

    This seems a rather new-speak-esque conflation and — with all due respect — confusion of incongrous concepts.

    Not unless one tries to sneak in teleology into the word ” directed” , I think Delicate Arch is a non intelligent controlled/ directed configuration.Natural forces cause the pattern of elements , the design.

    Since ID is agnostic on the mechanism of design,it cannot say where the Fsco/I it detects came from, it may just be in error in its elimination of natural causes as the source, will all due respect.

  75. 75
    velikovskys says:

    Piotr

    I suppose GRM1 and GRM4, as well as TAS1R1 and TAS1R3 play a role. The first two encode for metabotropic glutamate receptor proteins, and the next two for taste receptors type 1 (sweetness). Together, they are responsible for recognising “meaty” (umami) tastes.

    Thanks, how about the salty?

  76. 76
    velikovskys says:

    BA,
    So people who do not ‘love bacon’ do not have those particular genes/proteins???

    Yes BA , they are not people they are robots

  77. 77
    bornagain77 says:

    as to: “I suppose people who love bacon have well-developed receptors enabling them to appreciate its taste.”

    but what if two different people with well developed receptors hate and love bacon? Why the difference between their opinions? Could there be a subjective person inside each of them that is not reducible to chemistry making the judgment as to whether they love or hate bacon or is it all merely ‘just chemistry and physics’? 🙂

    You really need to watch this video to get a small clue as to how absurd your position actually is:

    John Cleese – The Scientists
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-M-vnmejwXo

  78. 78
    kairosfocus says:

    VS:

    This, from 74 above, is a New-Speak classic:

    Not unless one tries to sneak in teleology into the word ” directed” , I think Delicate Arch is a non intelligent controlled/ directed configuration.Natural forces cause the pattern of elements , the design.

    Since ID is agnostic on the mechanism of design,it cannot say where the Fsco/I it detects came from, it may just be in error in its elimination of natural causes as the source, will all due respect.

    Delicate Arch and the like natural bridges etc are NOT directed, they are observed to be the products of blind chance and mechanical necessity in concert. They do not exhibit FSCO/I as features of one and the same aspect.

    Your objection now is trying to force into the word, directed, just what directed does not mean, its opposite. And it does so with a snide accusation that the normal established meaning of directed “sneaks” in purposefulness.

    Sorry, ah nuh so it go, mon!

    Collins Dict: >> intelligence(?n?t?l?d??ns)n
    1. (Psychology) the capacity for understanding; ability to perceive and comprehend meaning
    2. good mental capacity: a person of intelligence.

    3. news; information
    4. (Military) military information about enemies, spies, etc
    5. (Military) a group or department that gathers or deals with such information
    6. (often capital) an intelligent being, esp one that is not embodied
    7. (Military) (modifier) of or relating to intelligence: an intelligence network.
    [C14: from Latin intellegentia, from intellegere to discern, comprehend, literally: choose between, from inter- + legere to choose] >>

    Collins Eng Dict: >> direct (d??r?kt; da?-) vb (mainly tr)
    1. to regulate, conduct, or control the affairs of
    2. (also intr) to give commands or orders with authority to (a person or group): he directed them to go away.
    3. to tell or show (someone) the way to a place
    4. to aim, point, or cause to move towards a goal
    5. (Communications & Information) to address (a letter, parcel, etc)
    6. to address (remarks, words, etc): to direct comments at someone.
    7. (Theatre) (also intr) to provide guidance to (actors, cameramen, etc) in the rehearsal of a play or the filming of a motion picture
    8. (Film) (also intr) to provide guidance to (actors, cameramen, etc) in the rehearsal of a play or the filming of a motion picture
    9. (Classical Music) (also intr)
    a. to conduct (a piece of music or musicians), usually while performing oneself
    b. another word (esp US) for conduct9 . . . . [C14: from Latin d?rectus; from d?rigere to guide, from dis- apart + regere to rule] >>

    VS, your quarrel here is with the English language and with high quality dictionaries. Sorry, New-Speak agenda rejected.

    Back on the design inference on FSCO/I as inductively grounded sign, what is OBSERVED is FSCO/I.

    OBSERVED, per Wicken wiring diagram functional, information-rich organisation. As in:

    ‘Organized’ systems are to be carefully distinguished from ‘ordered’ systems. Neither kind of system is ‘random,’ but whereas ordered systems are generated according to simple algorithms [i.e. “simple” force laws acting on objects starting from arbitrary and common- place initial conditions] and therefore lack complexity, organized systems must be assembled element by element according to an [[originally . . . ] external ‘wiring diagram’ with a high information content . . . Organization, then, is functional complexity and carries information. It is non-random by design or by selection, rather than by the a priori necessity of crystallographic ‘order.’ [“The Generation of Complexity in Evolution: A Thermodynamic and Information-Theoretical Discussion,” Journal of Theoretical Biology, 77 (April 1979): p. 353, of pp. 349-65. (Emphases and notes added. Nb: “originally” is added to highlight that for self-replicating systems, the blue print can be built-in.)]

    What is further massively observed is that objects, events, systems, processes etc are often causally shaped by distinct causal factors.

    For instance, aspects may represent:

    a: blind chance [–> a die tumbles and settles to a value, sky noise id detected on a radio, flicker and Johnson noise are observed in an electronic circuit . . . which points to various ways chance behaviour arises . . . ], and/or

    b: mechanical necessity [the die, dropped under gravity undergoes 9.8 N/kg initial acceleration per F = m*a] and/or

    c: intelligently directed configuration aka design [a die can be volitionally set to a reading by hand or it can be artfully loaded].

    This, we separately and directly experience and observe. In a context where we have no reason to hold or conclude that we exhaust the set of possible intelligences with power to contrive objects etc.

    If you would dismiss this basic reality, the very act of composing an objection is an instance of design of an entity exhibiting FSCO/I.

    Further to all this, you are back at undermining the logic of science, viz induction, by way of straining to find a rhetorical dismissal for inferring design on empirically observed and tested reliable signs such as FSCO/I.

    What is observed is FSCO/I expressed in an object etc. Start with text of posts — including your own — in this thread.

    Separately, design and its effects are experienced and observed. Including, on a trillion case basis, FSCO/I. (Start with, the Internet full of web pages etc. Move on to 5,000 years of recorded history and technology. Think about nuts, bolts, gears, pencils, pages of text, bricks and more.)

    It turns out there is just one empirically verified adequate cause of FSCO/I.

    And no, we do not have to reduce the observation or experience of design to a blindly mechanical computation connected to a set of actuators in order to properly infer design. That is a back-door smuggling in of a self-refuting agenda of reduction of mind to blind mechanism. Haldane, long ago aptly rebuked and refuted all such:

    “It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms. In order to escape from this necessity of sawing away the branch on which I am sitting, so to speak, I am compelled to believe that mind is not wholly conditioned by matter.” [“When I am dead,” in Possible Worlds: And Other Essays [1927], Chatto and Windus: London, 1932, reprint, p.209.]

    Instead, we are fully entitled to accept the reality of designs and designers as empirically well grounded first plausible facts. We do not have to undertake an absurd infinite regress on mechanisms or go in mechanistic circles in order to do so. We start from our well grounded ability to function as cognitive agents in a common world in which we have common experiences of designing and of designed objects etc with associated characteristics.

    On well substantiated induction, we are then entitled to infer on cases of observed FSCO/I that their best current (and given the needle in haystack search challenge, prospective) explanation is similar to that trillion item knowledge base — intelligently directed configuration, aka design.

    Not, by somehow sneaking in design into our thought question-beggingly or similarly demanding reduction of everything to a mindless and blind mechanistic process predetermined as required foundation, but based on well founded direct inductive reasoning.

    Where, it can be readily shown that just 1,000 bits of FSCO/I comes from a config space from 000 . . . 0 to 111 . . . 1 that involves 1.07*10^301 possibilities. Where also, we see that a blindly mechanistic needle in haystack, chance and necessity search on the gamut of our observed cosmos (~10^80 atoms, 10^17 s, 10^14 attempts to examine and assess configs per atom per s) will be drastically overwhelmed by the scope to be searched. That is, turning the number of atom level, fast chem rxn rate observations (10^111) into a metaphorical straw, the scope to be searched would be a cubical haystack so large that it would dwarf the observed cosmos within as a comparatively tiny blob.

    Blind needle in haystack search is not an analytically plausible source of FSCO/I. Intelligent agents routinely produce it — including text of comments here at UD meant to object to, dismiss or deride it — and demonstrate that intelligently directed creative configuration is sharply distinct from what blind chance and mechanical necessity may reasonably do.

    This is often in turn dismissed as appeal to “big numbers.”

    Sorry, the search challenge is a real issue that must be faced. Dodgy rhetoric is not good enough.

    And so, intelligently directed configuration is not question-begging but an inductive inference to well founded explanation. On pain of trying to burn down inductive reasoning.

    KF

  79. 79
    ChristopherH says:

    “We do not have to undertake an absurd infinite regress on mechanisms or go in mechanistic circles in order to do so”

    You do if your argument is that complexity necessitates design. So even if we were to grant your invalid inferences as valid, it solves nothing.

    >Life is the result of natural design from an agent that does not require design.

    Special pleading and you’re underhandedly admitting that complexity ultimately does not require design.

    >Life is the result of natural design from an agent that requires design from an agent that requires design from an agent that requires design from an agent that requires design from an agent that requires design from an agent that requires design ad infinitum.

    Infinite regress, solves nothing as we never arrive an at origin.

    >Life is the result of supernatural design from an agent that does not require design.

    Inherently non-science as the supernatural cannot be held to constant certain variables.

    No matter what, no matter the angle, you lose.

  80. 80
    Mung says:

    ChristopherH: You do if your argument is that complexity necessitates design.

    But, what if that is not the argument? Fool.

  81. 81
    ChristopherH says:

    “But, what if that is not the argument?”

    Then ID fails out of the gate.

    “Fool.”

    Ad hom, projection.

  82. 82
    kairosfocus says:

    The attempt to twist design terminology into the opposite of design collapses of its own weight.

  83. 83
    Macauley86 says:

    This post by philosopher Edward Feser will be very helpful to understand the evolutionary argument against naturalism. The comment section is very interesting as well
    http://edwardfeser.blogspot.co.....ument.html

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